We Have Some News To Share...

This may come as a surprise to many. 
We sure didn't see this in our plan a year ago, 
but things change and we are so excited to share our news with you! 
This post may not be what you think, so keep reading on...



So, it's not another baby.... so what could this exciting news be?!...






Shirts gifted from Cheerily - Emmalyn's Shirt - Madisyn's Shirt

Yes, it's true! We are moving (back) to CALIFORNIA!
Over the past year, we have done a lot of thinking, praying and planning. While the military sent us to Georgia almost 5 years ago, we always knew that this wouldn't be our forever home. But before we jump into our future plans, lets take a trip back down memory lane and recap all that has happened to bring us here, to this point:

We actually had always planned that once D was out of the military and we could settle down roots in the place of our choice, South Carolina would be home for us. A few months before ending his 10 year career with the marine corps, D began applying for jobs. We knew basically where we wanted to be, but were open to moving wherever the best opportunity lie. Applications were sent out to everywhere from South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, Tennessee and yes, even California. We were down to the wire, his EAS date approaching and no job in sight after dozens of applications sent. After 10 years serving our country, he received email after email rejecting his resume, explaining that he wasn't "qualified". Not one opportunity for an interview. To say transitioning out of the military is tough, that's just the tip of the iceberg!

So, there we were, on the verge of a huge life change and nothing set in stone. The amazing hard-working man that my husband is, he took 3 local jobs just to make it and provide what we needed to get by. He found a local opportunity working at UPS as a pre-load supervisor in the mornings from 3 am to 7 am then would leave that job and head to work as a sales manager at a local tire shop from 7:30 am to 7 pm. To top it off, any days off he had, he worked for a local landscape company. How he did it, I have no idea... But I have never met anyone else as hard working as this man of mine. After 7 months of working 17 hour days, 7 days a week, he knew something needed to change. He put in an application for our local county's police department. Working in law enforcement has always been a dream of his, and is honestly what he was made to do. After a long wait and screening process, he was accepted! He passed through the academy without a hitch and has now been a police officer for nearly a year. While he loves his job, we again always knew, this was not our forever home. We always knew at some point that we would move and likely have him transfer. Granted, we did not plan on that for at least a few years...

That brings us to now. You may be wanting answers to many questions, especially if you personally know me. So let me try to dive into the questions we had to ask ourselves and how we came to this decision for our family:

Q: Why California? Isn't the south more affordable?
A: Yes. Anywhere is cheaper than southern California (where we plan to live). But also, while the cost of living here is much cheaper than California, the housing market prices are rising, but the income and job opportunities are much less. This makes it very difficult financially. This was honestly one of the main deciding factors behind why we have decided to move. Of course everyone knows that a police officer's salary is extremely limited. We sat down and wrote out what our "live on money" is here, after all of our bills are paid, vs. what our "live on money" would be with D working for a police department in California. We took a hard look and questioned many of our friends who live back in California currently what realistic financial living expenses would look like. After all bills would be paid, our "live on money" would be double what it is currently based off of the salary he would bring home. That was a huge factor for us.

Q: What was the main deciding factor that made you want to move?
A: Does Mexican food count as a main deciding factor?... (Seriously though, give me all the burritos, tacos, salsa and guac.) In all honestly, this wasn't a decision that we just came to overnight. This decision has been talked about, prayed about, and planned out for almost a year. There is so much that has gone into making this decision, and it wasn't an easy one to come to, especially when you are basically deciding where you are going to live the majority of the rest of your life and raise your children. As I explained above, finances are obviously a main deciding factor, but that honestly wasn't the biggest one. For me, it was to be able to provide my girls with more family time. To have a support system. To have my children have a grandparent in their life day to day. Living military life, we don't get to choose where or how far away from family we live. We have to move at a moment's notice and start our whole lives over, likely in a place we have never been. For 6 years, I have been a solo parent. Every second and hour of the day, it is all me. I haven't has a husband who has come home at 6pm and is there to help me put the kids to bed, or to share the parenting duties with. I haven't had a parent to babysit my children for the weekend or give my husband and I a date night. And while these may sound like selfish reasons to want to live near family, I assure you, it's more than that.
After losing a parent, you really cherish the relationships you do have in life. The fact that I lost my Mother, but still have time on this earth left with my Dad, I want to spend as much of that time with him as I can. I want my children to have their Grandpa at their soccer games, dance recitals and school plays. I no longer want to have a long distance relationship with the only parent I have left. I don't want to look back one day and think "what memories could have been made?"

Q: Where in California do you plan to live?
A: Our target is Temecula, California. We feel that it is one of the best and more affordable family communities just north of San Diego county, with a great school district. Temecula is located inland about 45 min. from the coast in south Riverside county. We have always loved Temecula, and being located on the far side of Camp Pendleton, many of our military friends still live there, along with it being not too far of a drive from family. UPDATE: We have now also expanded our home search to San Marcos, which is located in north county San Diego, much closer to family and shorter commute times, but also within our price range.

Q: What will your husband do for work?
A: He is working on a lateral transfer to a police department near the area that we are planning to move to. Also, in his spare time he will be joining forces with me. Moving back to California allows us to dive back into our furniture building and explore other sources of income with our creative business ventures rather than just his law enforcement salary.

Q: Do you plan to work?
A: While the blog is and always will be my "work", being in California will allow me to branch out to do so much more and work towards the personal dreams I have always wanted to dive into. And again, having a support system in place to help with the kids will allow me a little more freedom to work outside of the house a few days a week, doing interior design work, photography, & all of the things my creative soul craves!

Q: Do you have a move date set?
A: As of now, our move date is set for mid-February 2019.

Q: Do you have any concerns about moving?
A: Of course. I have 3 pages of pros and cons that I made before coming to this decision. But overall, the pros outweighed the cons. 

(This one is for the ones that know me personally!)
Q: I thought you said you would NEVER come back?
A: I have had to eat my words, and never say never...

(This post is sponsored in collaboration with Homes.com)

I plan to take you all along with me for this entire journey! Each month, I plan to share updates as we approach closer to our move date, along with sharing tips on how to make a cross-country move easier (because after all, I should be an expert at this by now - I have moved a total of 9 times in my adult life!) and take you along with us as we search for our new rental home utilizing Homes.com and all of their website features to make finding a home (from across the country) a breeze! If you are planning your own move or are just in the search for a new home, whether renting or buying, their site is by far the easiest I have navigated, take a peek [HERE]

So, there it is... the secret we have been keeping is finally out! And while it isn't a baby (at least for right now), we are so excited for the future and what is to come for our family...



A Simple Farmhouse Baby Shower


Today I am sharing the sweet little farmhouse baby shower that I hosted for my best friend Ashley, and would you believe that I hosted this whole entire party for less that $60?! Want to know how? Keep reading along...

First off, let's start with the theme: Farmhouse style is "the thing" and it's everywhere you look, Joanna Gaines put it on the map and it's taken off like a rocket ever since. Everyone wants to shiplap their builder grade home walls and dream of living in their very own white farmhouse. My friend Ashley though, has a real farmhouse, and one everyone dreams of. Below are a few photos that I took of her home during my recent visit, isn't it just stunning!


Last Fall I received a face time call from Ashley unexpectedly, she then said "I have something I want to show you..." and held up a baby outfit! I was over the moon excited for her. We became friends 2 years ago after bonding over home decor when she came to my house to buy something I was selling on Facebook marketplace. We exchanged numbers and became instant decor buddies then best friends. When Ashley was nearing the last few months of her pregnancy, she still hadn't mentioned a shower, and regardless of this being her third boy, this baby needed to be celebrated too! Working on a very small budget and a tight timeline, I threw together a little baby shower with the help of her mother and sister. Together we brainstormed a simple and classic farmhouse baby shower that fit Ashely's home and personality perfectly.




To host this shower on a small budget, I utilized what I already had and made the focus more on the decor details rather than "party supplies". When you choose a theme that is focused more on the details rather than a specific theme, you can use the decor around your home and just add touches to make it feel like a party. For example. With the florals, I used my faux florals that I decorate with seasonally to make the arrangements, placed them in tin buckets and the only things I had to go out and buy to add in a touch of blue were the faux blueberries and linen ribbon from Hobby Lobby.




The sign that I used in the entry was one from my daughter's nursery. We didn't think of it at the time, but we realized after the shower, how cute it would have been to have a sign out like this one (with enough white space) for everyone to sign and write their well wishes on for baby. The cow is a creamer from my kitchen, which I just placed more faux berries greenery in.

For the mantle, I wanted to create a cute backdrop for where presents were going to be opened and wanted baby's name front and center when you walked through the front door and looked into the living room. The cardboard letters are from Hobby Lobby in the paper craft section for only $2.99 each, buy wait and buy them when they are 50% off. The greenery again is the seasonal greenery that I use for almost everything, also all from Hobby Lobby in their garland section. White florals were found in the stem florals. Onesies were also from Hobby Lobby and came in a pack of 3 for $9.99 but used my 40% coupon for those. I opted to keep the onesies plain for a clean look, but it would be so cute to have those personalized with baby's name or tiny farm animals on them! To add in more touches of blue but on a budget, I created my own tissue poms out of tissue paper. This cost all of $12 to create 12 of them in various sizes.



For the main table, we used a mixture of candle sticks that Ashley had around her entire home, bringing them together to create a "centerpiece" along with the greenery.
For a focal point in the kitchen, I used one of my favorite cotton wreaths and hand lettered onto a thick poster board from the dollar store, then cut to the circumference that I needed it to fit, hung it on the vent hood and that was it.



The cake was such a perfect touch to the farmhouse theme and was made by a friend of the family. The sweet little mama and baby lamb on top was purchased by Ashley's mom and is something baby can play with as he grows. The greenery embroidery hoops in the window were ones that I had created for another photo shoot, so the cost to use them here was free. But, they were so easy and affordable to make, if you are looking to get a bang for your buck when it comes to party decor, embroidery hoops are where it's at! You can add greenery and florals, add lace for a boho touch, or fill them with colorful and bold patterned fabric. Layer them together on a wall or hang in front of a window as I did here.





Let's talk food! Again, keeping it low budget and simple, we went with handmade tuna salad and chicken salad sandwiches cut into a lamb shape, fresh veggies, cheese trays, jalapeno cheese poppers and crackers. Not shown is the amazing mac & cheese bake that Ashley's sister made... it was like heaven in your mouth! Again, very budget friendly. Lastly, for the favors we made our own fresh popcorn and added the handmade tags that I water colored and hand lettered on to them.

So are you curious as to the overall total to host this baby shower?...

Let's break it down:

Paper Favor Tags: $3
Favor Bags: $4
Tissue Paper: $12
Paint For Water Color: $2
Linen Ribbon: $6
Poster Board: $1
Onesies: $7
Cardboard Letters @ $1.99 ea: $12
Clothespins + String: $5
Cake (Box Cake Mix + Icing): $8

Bringing the total for decor to: $60!
Plus: Overall Food Budget + Paper Plates/ Plastic Silverware: $100

Still, for less than $160 you can host a fabulous party, one that looks like you spent hundreds more than you actually did! Don't think that you have to break the bank to create a Pinterest worthy party, and let this post be the proof.

1. Think of a theme that fits your honoree
2. Utilize what you have around your home or borrow/ trade decor from friends
3. It will take some creativity, but DIY everything
4. Plan ahead and buy items that you need on sale
5. Get friends and family to pitch in to help with crafts, cooking or baking

But the most important reason that this post exists is because of this friend of mine and her sweet baby Keaton who we showered with love!


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